Monday, 6 August 2012

Deposits and Dick Buesnel

It's come to light - thanks to the work of the Greffier, that I was mistaken in thinking Dick Buesnel would have lost his Deposit. So here are the figures putting the record straight. He always came way down the bottom, but perhaps less candidates in a first past the post system ensued he did better than he might have done otherwise.

My other argument - that a deposit -especially a high one as suggested of £500 - disenfranchises the less well off - still stands. Someone on a States pension would probably not be in a good position to stand. Even someone on £18,000 would find £500 - on top of other outgoings, significantly more than someone earning (for example ) £60,000. A States member on around £41,000 per annum would also find it easier than the lower income group. For someone on £18,000, it is just under 2 weeks salary.

The Commission of 2003 which looked at the system in the UK noted:

 The current deposit (designed to discourage "frivolous" candidates) for UK Parliamentary elections stands at £500, with a threshold for candidates to obtain 5% of the votes cast in order to retain their deposit. But there is no obviously consistent approach to deposits for other elected bodies: £500 for elections to the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales; £150 for the Northern Ireland Assembly; £10,000 for election as Mayor of London.

But it concluded:

- politics (and therefore candidacy) should be open to any citizen who wishes to promote a specific policy or wider political platform;
- unnecessary hurdles should not be placed in the way of citizens putting themselves forward for election; and
- relying as they do on an individual's financial standing, or ability to raise additional funds, deposits might be an outdated and inappropriate imposition.
  We strongly recommended abolishing the deposit and subscriber systems for all elections in the UK. Our less-favoured alternative was at least to bring the requirements into line across different UK elections, and to reduce the proportion of votes candidates need to get in order to keep their deposits.

And here are the Dick Buesnel results, courtesy of Michael De La Haye (with permission to reproduce here) - unfortunately, I don't have the figures for numbers of candidates standing, which obviously makes a difference to how votes are allocated, even to the losers.:

Election Total Voters 5% Voters His Votes Lost Dep
Senators 1975 22,429 1,121 4,181 No
Senators 1978 23,206 1,160 4,065 No
Senators 1981 21,696 1,085 3,989 No
Senators 1984 19,346 967 3,859 No
St Helier No 2 1972 2,663 133 454 No
St Helier No 2 1975 2,907 145 482 No
St Helier No 2 1981 Elected n/a as Elected (518) No
St Helier No 2 1984 Not known*   496 ?
St Helier No 2 1987 Elected n/a as Elected (460) No
St Helier No 2 1990 Elected n/a as Elected (479) No
St Helier No 2 1993 2,491 125 373 No
* Total number of voters in 1984 election in No. 2 not recorded in States Greffe file

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